search close
Thu, December 3, 2020 | 16:53
  1. Drones light up Seoul sky with coronavirus messages [PHOTOS]
    In this on Saturday, July 4, 2020, photo, some 400 drones fly over the Han River showing messages of appreciation for medical workers during the coronavirus pandemic in Seoul, South Korea. The letters read " Thanks to the people." AP-YonhapIn this on Saturday, July 4, 2020, photo, some 400 drones fly over the Han River showing messages of appreciation for medical workers during the coronavirus pandemic in Seoul, South Korea. YonhapIn this on Saturday, July 4, 2020, photo, some 400 drones fly over the Han River showing messages of appreciation for medical workers during the coronavirus pandemic in Seoul, South Korea. YonhapIn this on Saturday, July 4, 2020, photo, some 400 drones fly over the Han River showing messages of appreciation for medical workers during the coronavirus pandemic in Seoul, South Korea. YonhapIn this on Saturday, July 4, 2020, photo, some 400 drones fly over the Han River showing messages of appreciation for medical workers during the coronavirus pandemic in Seoul, South Korea. YonhapIn this on Saturday, July 4, 2020, photo, some 400 drones fly over the Han River showing messages of appreciation for medical workers during the coronavirus pandemic in Seoul, South Korea. YonhapIn this on Saturday, July 4, 2020, photo, some 400 drones fly over the Han River showing messages of appreciation for medical workers during the coronavirus pandemic in Seoul, South Korea. YonhapIn this on Saturday, July 4, 2020, photo, some 400 drones fly over the Han River showing messages of appreciation for medical workers during the coronavirus pandemic in Seoul, South Korea. Yonhap
    In this on Saturday, July 4, 2020, photo, some 400 drones fly over the Han River showing messages of appreciation for medical workers during the coronavirus pandemic in Seoul, South Korea. The letters read " Thanks to the people." AP-YonhapIn this on Saturday, July 4, 2020, photo, some 400 drones fly over the Han River showing messages of appreciation for medical workers during the coronavirus pandemic in Seoul, South Korea. YonhapIn this on Saturday, July 4, 2020, photo, some 400 drones fly over the Han River showing messages of appreciation for medical workers during the coronavirus pandemic in Seoul, South Korea. YonhapIn this on Saturday, July 4, 2020, photo, some 400 drones fly over the Han River showing messages of appreciation for medical workers during the coronavirus pandemic in Seoul, South Korea. YonhapIn this on Saturday, July 4, 2020, photo, some 400 drones fly over the Han River showing messages of appreciation for medical workers during the coronavirus pandemic in Seoul, South Korea. YonhapIn this on Saturday, July 4, 2020, photo, some 400 drones fly over the Han River showing messages of appreciation for medical workers during the coronavirus pandemic in Seoul, South Korea. YonhapIn this on Saturday, July 4, 2020, photo, some 400 drones fly over the Han River showing messages of appreciation for medical workers during the coronavirus pandemic in Seoul, South Korea. YonhapIn this on Saturday, July 4, 2020, photo, some 400 drones fly over the Han River showing messages of appreciation for medical workers during the coronavirus pandemic in Seoul, South Korea. Yonhap
  2. Celebrating Korea-Czech relations
    Visitors to the National Museum of Korea take a look at Bohemian glass relics at a special exhibition marking the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Korea and the Czech Republic, Monday. The exhibition runs until April 26. / Yonhap
    Visitors to the National Museum of Korea take a look at Bohemian glass relics at a special exhibition marking the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Korea and the Czech Republic, Monday. The exhibition runs until April 26. / Yonhap
  3. To-be-built dormitory
    Ewha Womans University President Kim Sun-uk, right, points to an artist’s rendering of a dormitory planned for the school’s campus in Seoul, Tuesday, during a groundbreaking ceremony. Those listening to her are, from left, Choi Kyung-hee, the next president of the university; Chang Myong-sue, head of Ewha Haktang; Yoon Hoo-jung, Ewha’s honorary president; and Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon./ Courtesy of Ewha Womans University
    Ewha Womans University President Kim Sun-uk, right, points to an artist’s rendering of a dormitory planned for the school’s campus in Seoul, Tuesday, during a groundbreaking ceremony. Those listening to her are, from left, Choi Kyung-hee, the next president of the university; Chang Myong-sue, head of Ewha Haktang; Yoon Hoo-jung, Ewha’s honorary president; and Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon./ Courtesy of Ewha Womans University
  4. Return of Goryeo treasure
    An ancient chest used to store Buddhist texts is on display during a ceremony at the National Museum of Korea, Tuesday. The nation’s flagship museum acquired the rare Goryeo Kingdom (918—1392) heritage from a Japanese collector./ Yonhap
    An ancient chest used to store Buddhist texts is on display during a ceremony at the National Museum of Korea, Tuesday. The nation’s flagship museum acquired the rare Goryeo Kingdom (918—1392) heritage from a Japanese collector./ Yonhap
  5. Beauty pageant
    2014 Miss Korea Kim Seo-yeon, 22, waves after winning the annual pageant at the Olympic Hall in the Olympic Park, southern Seoul, Tuesday. The first runners-up were Lee Seo-bin, 21, and Shin Su-min, 20; the second runners-up were Kim Myeong-seon, 21, Sarah Lee, 23, Baek Ji-hyun, 21, and Ryu So-ra, 20. The Hankook Ilbo, a sister paper of The Korea Times, organized the beauty contest./ Korea Times photo by Wang Tae-seok
    2014 Miss Korea Kim Seo-yeon, 22, waves after winning the annual pageant at the Olympic Hall in the Olympic Park, southern Seoul, Tuesday. The first runners-up were Lee Seo-bin, 21, and Shin Su-min, 20; the second runners-up were Kim Myeong-seon, 21, Sarah Lee, 23, Baek Ji-hyun, 21, and Ryu So-ra, 20. The Hankook Ilbo, a sister paper of The Korea Times, organized the beauty contest./ Korea Times photo by Wang Tae-seok
  6. Dami Im in Seoul
    Dami Im, who was the winner of the Australian audition program “The X-Factor” last year sings at the showcase for her debut  album “Dami Im” in Samseong-dong, Seoul, Wednesday. / Yonhap
    Dami Im, who was the winner of the Australian audition program “The X-Factor” last year sings at the showcase for her debut  album “Dami Im” in Samseong-dong, Seoul, Wednesday. / Yonhap
  7. Jeonju Hanok Village: strolling through timeless beauty [PHOTOS]
    A woman in hanbok is seen near a gingko tree with its leaves turning yellow. Seen behind her is a traditional tiled roof. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukBy Kang Hyun-kyungTouching the clay, brick and wooden materials of hanok is to discover its hidden value.Korea’s traditional houses evoke various emotions. If you become nostalgic, this means you are wise enough to value tradition.If you feel nothing, it’s time to travel to Jeonju Hanok Village. There, the hanok is no longer a serene place. Exploring the quaint but lively neighborhood is fun. It’s no longer an old-fashioned housing complex. It’s a modern place full of surprises and experiences. An aerial view of Jeonju Hanok Village. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukTourists in hanbok stroll around Jeonju Hanok Village. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukVisitors in costume take photos in a studio. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-suk“New retro” is in vogue. Jeonju Nanjang located inside the hanok village is a theme park-style museum remodeled after three and a half years of construction and 25 years of research. There, children can experience a 1960s-era classroom. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-suk
    A woman in hanbok is seen near a gingko tree with its leaves turning yellow. Seen behind her is a traditional tiled roof. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukBy Kang Hyun-kyungTouching the clay, brick and wooden materials of hanok is to discover its hidden value.Korea’s traditional houses evoke various emotions. If you become nostalgic, this means you are wise enough to value tradition.If you feel nothing, it’s time to travel to Jeonju Hanok Village. There, the hanok is no longer a serene place. Exploring the quaint but lively neighborhood is fun. It’s no longer an old-fashioned housing complex. It’s a modern place full of surprises and experiences. An aerial view of Jeonju Hanok Village. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukTourists in hanbok stroll around Jeonju Hanok Village. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukVisitors in costume take photos in a studio. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-suk“New retro” is in vogue. Jeonju Nanjang located inside the hanok village is a theme park-style museum remodeled after three and a half years of construction and 25 years of research. There, children can experience a 1960s-era classroom. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-suk
  8. Plastic pandemic [PHOTOS]
    A worker sorts recyclable material from plastic waste at a landfill site in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province, Oct. 19. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukBy Bae Eun-jooThe coronavirus pandemic has sparked a massive demand for and use of plastics. The increasing necessity of face masks, plastic gloves and disinfecting wipes, which have become everyday items for most, is creating a plastic pandemic. Intensifying the rise in plastic demand, social distancing restrictions have quarantined people at home and as a result they have started relying more on online shopping and food delivery services. Plastic waste is delivered to a recycling facility after being compressed. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukThe protective measures against virus infection are creating higher consumption of single-use goods including takeaway food containers, delivery packages and bubble wrap for online shopping. Plastic packaging for food delivery is crucial and the rising popularity of next-day delivery services associated with over-packaging is creating environmental hazards at an alarming rate. South Korea was one of the world’s largest consumers of plastic per capita even before the pandemic exacerbated this tsunami of trash. The average Korean uses 11.5 kilograms of plastic each year. That includes 96 plastic bottles, 65 plastic cups and 460 plastic bags per person, according to a 2019 Greenpeace report. It can take more than 500 years for used plastics to naturally degrade fully when released into the environment. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukOnce discarded these single-use disposables are usually found at coastal areas. Unsurprisingly over 80 percent of coastal waste turns out to be plastic. About 43.6 percent of waste plastics are recycled but much of the waste is sent to landfills or incinerated.South Korea has traditionally exported a large volume of plastic waste but, with China and the Philippines declaring an end to waste imports recently, the nation is faced with a serious challenge. A lack of waste management facilities adds to the spike of waste dumping, resulting in mountains of garbage across the country. Over 235 mountains of garbage were reported in Korea in 2019.It can take more than 500 years for used plastics to naturally degrade fully when released into the environment. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-suk Workers sort plastic waste on a conveyor belt at a recycling center. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukThe plastic pandemic poses a long-term challenge for the Seoul metropolitan area as the Sudokwon Landfill Site, one of the world’s largest waste landfill sites, in Incheon is set to close in 2025 after over 20 years of operation. Launched in 1992, it receives an average of 12,000 tons of garbage every day, mostly home- and construction-related waste from 22 million residents of Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi Province. A total of 46 tons of waste is brought into the Yongin landfill site daily. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukSpanning 1.48 million square meters in size, the Sudokwon Landfill Site is designed to process 12,000 tons of daily waste however over 13,000 tons are currently brought in every day. At this rate, the landfill site will exceed its capacity by November 2024, much earlier than the expected August 2025.
    A worker sorts recyclable material from plastic waste at a landfill site in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province, Oct. 19. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukBy Bae Eun-jooThe coronavirus pandemic has sparked a massive demand for and use of plastics. The increasing necessity of face masks, plastic gloves and disinfecting wipes, which have become everyday items for most, is creating a plastic pandemic. Intensifying the rise in plastic demand, social distancing restrictions have quarantined people at home and as a result they have started relying more on online shopping and food delivery services. Plastic waste is delivered to a recycling facility after being compressed. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukThe protective measures against virus infection are creating higher consumption of single-use goods including takeaway food containers, delivery packages and bubble wrap for online shopping. Plastic packaging for food delivery is crucial and the rising popularity of next-day delivery services associated with over-packaging is creating environmental hazards at an alarming rate. South Korea was one of the world’s largest consumers of plastic per capita even before the pandemic exacerbated this tsunami of trash. The average Korean uses 11.5 kilograms of plastic each year. That includes 96 plastic bottles, 65 plastic cups and 460 plastic bags per person, according to a 2019 Greenpeace report. It can take more than 500 years for used plastics to naturally degrade fully when released into the environment. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukOnce discarded these single-use disposables are usually found at coastal areas. Unsurprisingly over 80 percent of coastal waste turns out to be plastic. About 43.6 percent of waste plastics are recycled but much of the waste is sent to landfills or incinerated.South Korea has traditionally exported a large volume of plastic waste but, with China and the Philippines declaring an end to waste imports recently, the nation is faced with a serious challenge. A lack of waste management facilities adds to the spike of waste dumping, resulting in mountains of garbage across the country. Over 235 mountains of garbage were reported in Korea in 2019.It can take more than 500 years for used plastics to naturally degrade fully when released into the environment. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-suk Workers sort plastic waste on a conveyor belt at a recycling center. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukThe plastic pandemic poses a long-term challenge for the Seoul metropolitan area as the Sudokwon Landfill Site, one of the world’s largest waste landfill sites, in Incheon is set to close in 2025 after over 20 years of operation. Launched in 1992, it receives an average of 12,000 tons of garbage every day, mostly home- and construction-related waste from 22 million residents of Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi Province. A total of 46 tons of waste is brought into the Yongin landfill site daily. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukSpanning 1.48 million square meters in size, the Sudokwon Landfill Site is designed to process 12,000 tons of daily waste however over 13,000 tons are currently brought in every day. At this rate, the landfill site will exceed its capacity by November 2024, much earlier than the expected August 2025.
  9. 'Koreans for Trump': Supporters of US president gather in Seoul [PHOTOS]
    A Korean supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump holds a banner outside the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, Nov. 4. Korea Times photos by Shim Hyun-chulA Korean supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump hold banners and flags outside the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, Nov. 4. Korea Times photos by Shim Hyun-chulA Korean supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump hold banners and flags outside the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, Nov. 4. Korea Times photos by Shim Hyun-chulKorean supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump hold banners and flags outside the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, Nov. 4. Korea Times photos by Shim Hyun-chulKorean supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump hold banners and flags outside the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, Nov. 4. Korea Times photos by Shim Hyun-chul
    A Korean supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump holds a banner outside the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, Nov. 4. Korea Times photos by Shim Hyun-chulA Korean supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump hold banners and flags outside the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, Nov. 4. Korea Times photos by Shim Hyun-chulA Korean supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump hold banners and flags outside the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, Nov. 4. Korea Times photos by Shim Hyun-chulKorean supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump hold banners and flags outside the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, Nov. 4. Korea Times photos by Shim Hyun-chulKorean supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump hold banners and flags outside the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, Nov. 4. Korea Times photos by Shim Hyun-chul
  10. Strolling under the moonlight [PHOTOS]
    A cheongsa chorong (traditional Korean lantern) guides the way through Changgyeong Palace at dusk. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukBy Bae Eun-jooWhen the nationwide social distancing restrictions were lowered to Level 1 last week, people were quick to search for an escape from the prolonged confinement and boredom they’ve had to endure since the COVID-19 pandemic struck early this year. Social distancing Level 1, the lowest of the three-tier restriction system, opened up doors to a lot of activities, as restrictions on indoor and outdoor gatherings were lifted as long as participants wear face masks and take other necessary precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the virus.Gyeonghoeru Pavilion at Gyeongbok Palace is reflected in the moonlight. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukThe Royal Culture Festival, which kicked off its month-long celebration Oct. 12, just in time as the social distancing rules were relaxed, sold out tickets in minutes to arts lovers eagerly awaiting the performances.Performances and exhibitions were complemented by the colorful autumn foliage at Seoul’s royal palaces and other related sites of the 1392-1910 Joseon kingdom -- Gyeongbok, Changdeok, Changgyeong and Deoksu palaces as well as Jongmyo Shrine -- surpassing expectations of the festivalgoers.Visitors walk through the tunnel of light to enter Changgyeong Palace. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukAnticipation for this year’s festival was heightened as K-pop boy band BTS filmed for the “BTS Week” special on NBC’s “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” at Gyeongbok Palace earlier this month. All dressed up in chic hanbok-inspired outfits, the Billboard No. 1 stars performed “Idol” and “Mikrokosmos” at Geunjeongjeon Hall (National Treasure No. 223) and Gyeonghoeru Pavilion under the full moon. And on Gyeonghoeru, the very same stage where BTS sang and danced, a musical based on the Korean folk tale of Shim Cheong was featured as a highlight performance of the Royal Culture Festival. Performed on a floating stage, the musical was worth every penny, dazzling audiences with its circus-like show full of aerial performances and magical backgrounds created by water projections. “Shim Cheong” the musical is the highlight of the Royal Culture Festival, staged at Gyeonghoeru in Gyeongbok Palace. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-suk Traditional symbols of longevity guide visitors through the darkness. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukDivided into groups of 20-30 people for each entry, the Changgyeong Moonlight Tour welcomed visitors with a nighttime walk through a forest trail arched by a laser light tunnel. Guided by 10 traditional symbols of longevity -- sun, clouds, mountains, water, pine trees, turtles, deer, cranes, peaches and the herb of eternal youth – visitors can stroll down the luminescent pebble trail that leads to Chundangji Pond within the palace grounds. The depth and grandeur of the pond under the moonlight overwhelmed the visitors normally used to its serene and scenic views in the daytime. The folktale character Shim Cheong flies through the air suspended by a wire during the performance. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukThe reputation of the Royal Culture Festival has been growing since it was first launched five years ago, drawing over 640,000 visitors last year. Usually celebrated in the spring to take advantage of the cherry blossoms, the postponement of this year’s festival allowed the visitors to witness the utmost beauty of Korea’s autumn foliage. 
    A cheongsa chorong (traditional Korean lantern) guides the way through Changgyeong Palace at dusk. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukBy Bae Eun-jooWhen the nationwide social distancing restrictions were lowered to Level 1 last week, people were quick to search for an escape from the prolonged confinement and boredom they’ve had to endure since the COVID-19 pandemic struck early this year. Social distancing Level 1, the lowest of the three-tier restriction system, opened up doors to a lot of activities, as restrictions on indoor and outdoor gatherings were lifted as long as participants wear face masks and take other necessary precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the virus.Gyeonghoeru Pavilion at Gyeongbok Palace is reflected in the moonlight. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukThe Royal Culture Festival, which kicked off its month-long celebration Oct. 12, just in time as the social distancing rules were relaxed, sold out tickets in minutes to arts lovers eagerly awaiting the performances.Performances and exhibitions were complemented by the colorful autumn foliage at Seoul’s royal palaces and other related sites of the 1392-1910 Joseon kingdom -- Gyeongbok, Changdeok, Changgyeong and Deoksu palaces as well as Jongmyo Shrine -- surpassing expectations of the festivalgoers.Visitors walk through the tunnel of light to enter Changgyeong Palace. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukAnticipation for this year’s festival was heightened as K-pop boy band BTS filmed for the “BTS Week” special on NBC’s “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” at Gyeongbok Palace earlier this month. All dressed up in chic hanbok-inspired outfits, the Billboard No. 1 stars performed “Idol” and “Mikrokosmos” at Geunjeongjeon Hall (National Treasure No. 223) and Gyeonghoeru Pavilion under the full moon. And on Gyeonghoeru, the very same stage where BTS sang and danced, a musical based on the Korean folk tale of Shim Cheong was featured as a highlight performance of the Royal Culture Festival. Performed on a floating stage, the musical was worth every penny, dazzling audiences with its circus-like show full of aerial performances and magical backgrounds created by water projections. “Shim Cheong” the musical is the highlight of the Royal Culture Festival, staged at Gyeonghoeru in Gyeongbok Palace. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-suk Traditional symbols of longevity guide visitors through the darkness. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukDivided into groups of 20-30 people for each entry, the Changgyeong Moonlight Tour welcomed visitors with a nighttime walk through a forest trail arched by a laser light tunnel. Guided by 10 traditional symbols of longevity -- sun, clouds, mountains, water, pine trees, turtles, deer, cranes, peaches and the herb of eternal youth – visitors can stroll down the luminescent pebble trail that leads to Chundangji Pond within the palace grounds. The depth and grandeur of the pond under the moonlight overwhelmed the visitors normally used to its serene and scenic views in the daytime. The folktale character Shim Cheong flies through the air suspended by a wire during the performance. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukThe reputation of the Royal Culture Festival has been growing since it was first launched five years ago, drawing over 640,000 visitors last year. Usually celebrated in the spring to take advantage of the cherry blossoms, the postponement of this year’s festival allowed the visitors to witness the utmost beauty of Korea’s autumn foliage. 
  11. Putting lives on the line amid COVID-19 [PHOTOS]
    Jobseekers flock to the Guro labor market in the early morning before darkness has lifted. Korea Times photo by Shim Hyun-chulBy Bae Eun-jooA recent news report showing thousands of jobseekers lined up looking for a day’s work early in the morning raised the alarm over economic woes amid the COVID-19 pandemic. What also seriously concerned people was that many of the people gathered at Guro labor market were not wearing face masks or abiding by social distancing rules.Guro labor market is Korea’s largest gathering place for day laborers who get by living hand to mouth. Mostly construction laborers, they flock to the site between 3:30 a.m. and 6 a.m. to be picked up for a day job, if they are lucky. Many of the workers in the crowd are non-nationals, including ethnic Koreans from China, who are not fluent in Korean to understand quarantine guidelines well.People anxiously wait for their names to be called out every morning. Korea Times photo by Shim Hyun-chulThe market usually attracts thousands of people every morning, but the number of jobseekers has increased with the increasing job losses amid the continued economic fallout from the COVID-19 outbreak, which has infected roughly one in 10 people worldwide.Fearing a mass virus outbreak at the labor market, Guro District Office dispatched officials to the place during the early morning hours to guide jobseekers through safety measures. Officials say the number of laborers searching for a day’s work has almost tripled over the last few months as compared to 500 to 800 people at the beginning of this year. Whereas Chinese workers used to constitute the majority of jobseekers at the labor market, more and more Korean laborers including those in their 20s and 30s have been showing up recently, officials said.People are vulnerable to COVID-19 infection as quarantine rules are difficult to keep. Korea Times photo by Shim Hyun-chulKorea lost 274,000 jobs in August, continuing a downward trend for the sixth consecutive month, according to government data. Employment levels contracted with declines of 195,000 in March, 476,000 in April, 392,000 in May, 352,000 in June and 277,000 in July. This was the longest period in which Asia’s fourth-largest economy saw its employment rate continue falling since 2009 when the country was reeling from the blows it suffered under the lash of the 2008 global financial crisis.After their names are called, laborers climb into the van, not asking where they will be taken. Korea Times photo by Shim Hyun-chulThe employment rate for those aged 15 or older in August was 60.4 percent, a 1 percentage point year-on-year decline, marking the lowest rate since August 2013 when the figure stood at 60.2 percent. The unemployment rate in the same month was 3.1 percent, a 0.1 percent year-on-year rise, marking 6,000 more unemployed compared with the same period last year. The recorded number of unemployed persons in August was 864,000. A man who failed to find a day’s work wanders around the market. Korea Times photo by Shim Hyun-chul
    Jobseekers flock to the Guro labor market in the early morning before darkness has lifted. Korea Times photo by Shim Hyun-chulBy Bae Eun-jooA recent news report showing thousands of jobseekers lined up looking for a day’s work early in the morning raised the alarm over economic woes amid the COVID-19 pandemic. What also seriously concerned people was that many of the people gathered at Guro labor market were not wearing face masks or abiding by social distancing rules.Guro labor market is Korea’s largest gathering place for day laborers who get by living hand to mouth. Mostly construction laborers, they flock to the site between 3:30 a.m. and 6 a.m. to be picked up for a day job, if they are lucky. Many of the workers in the crowd are non-nationals, including ethnic Koreans from China, who are not fluent in Korean to understand quarantine guidelines well.People anxiously wait for their names to be called out every morning. Korea Times photo by Shim Hyun-chulThe market usually attracts thousands of people every morning, but the number of jobseekers has increased with the increasing job losses amid the continued economic fallout from the COVID-19 outbreak, which has infected roughly one in 10 people worldwide.Fearing a mass virus outbreak at the labor market, Guro District Office dispatched officials to the place during the early morning hours to guide jobseekers through safety measures. Officials say the number of laborers searching for a day’s work has almost tripled over the last few months as compared to 500 to 800 people at the beginning of this year. Whereas Chinese workers used to constitute the majority of jobseekers at the labor market, more and more Korean laborers including those in their 20s and 30s have been showing up recently, officials said.People are vulnerable to COVID-19 infection as quarantine rules are difficult to keep. Korea Times photo by Shim Hyun-chulKorea lost 274,000 jobs in August, continuing a downward trend for the sixth consecutive month, according to government data. Employment levels contracted with declines of 195,000 in March, 476,000 in April, 392,000 in May, 352,000 in June and 277,000 in July. This was the longest period in which Asia’s fourth-largest economy saw its employment rate continue falling since 2009 when the country was reeling from the blows it suffered under the lash of the 2008 global financial crisis.After their names are called, laborers climb into the van, not asking where they will be taken. Korea Times photo by Shim Hyun-chulThe employment rate for those aged 15 or older in August was 60.4 percent, a 1 percentage point year-on-year decline, marking the lowest rate since August 2013 when the figure stood at 60.2 percent. The unemployment rate in the same month was 3.1 percent, a 0.1 percent year-on-year rise, marking 6,000 more unemployed compared with the same period last year. The recorded number of unemployed persons in August was 864,000. A man who failed to find a day’s work wanders around the market. Korea Times photo by Shim Hyun-chul
footer